Posts Tagged ‘Glynis Millward’

Glynis Millward’s Complaint to Charity Commission about Political Bias of Board of Deputies

May 2, 2020

Glynis Millward, one of the great commenters and supporters of Mike’s blog, is so incensed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ arrogantly dictatorial attitude towards the Labour Party and its continued interference in its affairs, that she has made an official complaint to the Charity Commission about the Board. Her contention is that the Board has violated the Commission’s rules about political impartiality. Charities are not supposed to be politically involved, or if they are, not to favour one side or party over another. But the Board has violated this rule by foisting on Labour demands that it certainly has not made of any other party. Unfortunately, Glynis has not yet had a reply from the Commission.

The Board demonstrated this arrogance and bias yet again yesterday in demanding the expulsion of two highly respected Black women MPs, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. The women’s crime was that they appeared in a Zoom discussion and took questions from an audience which included Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker. Tony and Jackie are two passionate Jewish anti-racists, which the witch-hunters contrived to suspend or expel, smearing them as anti-Semites as they did so. One of the Ten Pledges the Board persuaded Starmer to sign is that Labour members should not share a platform with those expelled for anti-Semitism.

But as I said in my article about this noxious affair yesterday, this looks like more political intriguing. The Conservatives have hated Abbott for a long time as an anti-racist activist and a friend and ally of Corbyn’s. The fact that both of the women are Black also adds a very nasty whiff of racism to their demands.

Glynis explained that she had sent a complaint to the Charities Commission about the Board’s demands, and was still waiting for their reply in a comment to Mike’s piece about the Board’s latest demand. She wrote

I am STILL waiting for a response from BOD re my complaint, which is as follows and I have now passed on my complaint to the Charity Commission

Dear  Madam

As directed by the Charity Commission website, I am making my formal complaint to you in the first instance.

As I understand it, the Board of Deputies (“BoD”) is controlled by the BoD Charitable foundation with the same directors as BoD.

I contend that the 10 point pledge that BoD demand Labour Party leader and deputy leader candidates sign up to is a breach of the Charities Act ( see link to guidance here) on the grounds that political bias is being exhibited by the organisation.

Campaigning and political activity guidance for charities (CC9)

Campaigning and political activity guidance for charities (CC9)

What charities need to consider when campaigning or engaging in political activity. Also includes guidance about Elections and Referendums.

I am particularly concerned with the wording in pledge 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Pledge 2 and 3 are incompatible with safeguarding the independence of the Labour Party from political interference by other bodies. The only external influence on a political party process should be the law of the land which of course applies to us all.

Pledge 5 promotes “guilt by association”.

It is trite law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If they are being assisted through the investigation process by another member whilst suspended, you appear to be demanding that the person assisting is also suspended. This would be rather like a trade union representative being suspended because they were supporting an employee, who was suspended from the workplace pending an investigation into allegations made against them.

It is interesting perhaps to note that you do not appear to have demanded that other political parties sign up to this pledge particularly when, as I am sure you are aware, that only the Conservative Party MPs and not its ordinary members, have signed up to the IHRA working definition of antisemitism (not including the 11 examples) whereas the Labour party MPs and all its members have signed up to the full IHRA definition including the 11 examples. It is beyond doubt that there are instances of antisemitism within the Conservative party as various newspaper reports reveal

I also note that you do not appear to have met with the Labour party National Executive Committee to discuss this pledge with them which would need to be ratified by conference.

I feel it only right and proper to give you an opportunity to respond to my complaint and concerns before contacting the Charity Commission.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Glynis is totally right in her criticisms and complaints, but I’m afraid she might be a long time waiting for any kind of reply from the Charity Commission. Others, I believe Tony Greenstein is one of them, have made exactly the same complaint to the Charity Commission about the squalid activities of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. This wretched organisation, which claims that it combats anti-Semitism, is really all about defending Israel from criticism for its slow-motion genocide of the Palestinians. Its primary targets seems to be left-wing anti-Zionists. The vast majority of its pieces attack Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. Although the vast majority of anti-Semitism comes from the Far Right, they have precious few articles about that. And of course, as the web entity Jacobsmates has shown, the Conservative party is a cesspool of racism. Most of this is directed against Muslims, Blacks and Asians, but there are some individuals that are extremely anti-Semitic. These nutters really believe in the ‘great replacement’, the conspiracy theory that holds that the Jews are deliberately importing non-Whites into the West to destroy and replace the White race. But of Tory anti-Semitism the Board has said nary a word.

Unfortunately, although their complaints about the Campaign for Anti-Semitism are entirely valid, they haven’t had any response either. They believe it is because the head of the Commission is a far-right Tory.

I fully support the complaints by Glynis and others against the Board of Deputies and the Campaign for Anti-Semitism, but I very much regret that I don’t see the Commission acting on them.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/05/01/this-minority-interest-group-is-dictating-racist-membership-rules-to-the-labour-party-why/

From 2012: Private Eye on Fraud by Workfare Company

January 21, 2015

This Sunday, 18th January, I reposted an article from Glynis Millward’s blog, reporting the trial and conviction of several A4E employees for fraud. They had been falsifying the numbers of unemployed people the company had helped back into work, in order to get money under the government’s ‘payment by results’ scheme. Although noteworthy, it wasn’t the first time a workfare company had committed such fraud. Johnny Void has also blogged about similar abuse of the system by the workfare companies. And three years ago, Private Eye reported a similar case of what may have been fraud by Working Links in their edition for the 18th -31st May 2012. The article ran:

Workfare
The Links Effect

“Benefit-busting contractor” contractor Working Links tried to claim government cash for helping people into work when the “clients” couldn’t be traced, were still receiving Jobseekers Allowance or were actually helped by rival “workfare” companies.

The company also made several duplicate claims, asking to be paid twice for helping the same person, according to internal papers passed to the Eye. The documents, which cover Working Links’ £5m-plus contract for work on the New Deal for Disabled People in 2007-8, were found in a disused desk on a rubbish tip.

Working Links, one of the UK’s largest “benefit-busters”, had contracts to encourage incapacity benefit claimants back into work through coaching, interview advice and other “job club” activities. It was paid around £300 for each unemployed “client” and received bonuses of more than £1,000 for each one getting a part-time job and nearly £3,000 if they found full-time work.

The files include monthly invoices from Working Links to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ranging from £400,000 to £1m. The DWP rejected up to £20,000 a time on many invoices because of multiple errors. The DWP did not investigate the false claims nor treat them as fraud, and the files do not show these were deliberate errors. However, they do show that Working Links was more enthusiastic about claiming cash from the government than it was about keeping accurate records. Separately, DWP “compliance visits” have found systematic overclaiming in some Working Links offices. (See Eye 1311).

Overclaiming appears rife among workfare contractors. Emails between the DWP and the National Audit Office obtained under freedom of information by the Eye show that “benefit-busting” firms made more than 10,000 false claims on the “New Deal” employment scheme in 2010-11. In the emails, the DWP told the auditors about failures in checking that claimants the contractors claimed to have helped had actually signed off benefits. The DWP describes “30 percent failing the check and around 10 percent ultimately unvalidated”.

A third of claims by contractors are initially questioned. Most are cleared up, but the remaining 10 percent are false. The DWP found that of 104,767 invoices from New Deal contractors, 10,462 failed the off-benefit check and remain “unpaid”. This means that companies like Working Links and the giant A4E asked for to £30m they were not due. The DWP did not pay the cash, but the fact that it did not investigate the false claims further shows a liberal attitude to the contractors.

Working Links, part-owned by temp agency Manpower and consultant CapGemini, has many other government contracts, including £300m for running the new Work Programme in Wales, Scotland and the South West.

This is a shocking statistic, but it isn’t really surprising. I posted up another piece by Private Eye yesterday reporting on the conclusions of the NAO several years ago that the welfare-to-work scheme would fail, and would need bailing out. Moreover, as Johnny Void has repeatedly blogged, the workfare system is so flawed that you are far more likely to get a job through your own efforts than from one of the workfare companies.

The entire scheme is set up to encourage fraud, and based on the exploitation of the unpaid labour of the jobless themselves. It should be totally discontinued.

From 2012: Private Eye on Bad Atos Decisions and Flawed Government Reports

January 20, 2015

In their 27th January – 9th February 2012 issue, Private Eye reported the case of Keith Tilbury, a man who had suffered severe physical and psychological harm after being accidentally shot by a police firearms instructor. Despite the severity of his injuries, Mr Tilbury was nevertheless judged fit for work by Atos. The same article also criticised the government report which forms the basis for the government’s replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with the Personal Independence Payment. It ran:

Fit-For-Work Tests
Shits in the Dark

In the Eye’s growing post-bag of appalling decisions made by French service company Atos in assessing sick and disabled people as being ~”fit for work~”, one of the most shocking concerns Keith Tilbury.

Mr Tilbury spent 13 days in a coma fighting for his life after he was accidentally shot in the stomach by a police firearms officer. The bullet smashed a rib, damaged his sternum and put a hole in his liver. He had to have part of a kidney removed and lost part of his bowel. He had massive entry and exit wounds, muscle and other extensive soft tissue damage.

Since that disaster in 2007, Mr Tilbury has suffered two heart attacks, two while undergoing surgery, a quadruple coronary bypass, two transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes), one full-blown stroke resulting in reduced vision 9in his eyes, post-operative complications – and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Tilbury, 60, says: ” I have had many hours of cognitive behaviour therapy with a psychotherapist trying to work out why a Thames Valley Police firearms instructor would fire Dirty Harry’s weapon of choice – a.44 magnum – in a seminar room.”

Given his well-documented health records, Mr Tilbury, who had been a civilian emergency call centre operator, is trying to establish how on earth the Atos nurse or doctor – he is not sure which – could decide that he is fit to work without “dropping down dead” when there has been no improvement in his health since his last assessment.

Like thousands of others, Mr Tilbury is having to go through the ordeal of appealing against the decision. He sees the box-ticking Atos test – drawn up with the help of US insurance giant Unum, which was fined millions in the US for cheating its clients – as no more than a government tool to slash the benefits of people who through no fault of their own can no longer work.

As the Eye has extensively reported (see issues 874, 1300, 1301 and 1302), Unum has been helping both Tory and Labour government with so-called welfare reform, going right back to Peter Lilley’s 1994 social security “Incapacity for Work” shake-up.

Atos, which boasts that its contract with the current government is worth “approximately 100m a year”, happened to be the only other private company sitting alongside Unum on the then Labour government’s panel which reviewed and came up with the hated “work capability test” which is now failing Mr Tilbury and thousands like him.

Companies like Atos and Unum (which markets its insurance on the back of welfare reform) now stand to make even more millions, however, as the coalition presses ahead with its plans for similar assessments for those receiving disability living allowance (DLA). By replacing DLA with a personal independence payment which is subject to regular review and face-to-face assessments, the government says it can save £1bn because it claims many people no longer require the support.

But a recent detailed study, Responsible Reform, accuses the government of consistently using inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants, while concealing the overwhelming opposition to its latest reform. The detailed 40-page study – dubbed the Spartacus report and written and funded by disabled people receiving DLA, excluding those with mental health conditions, had remained remarkably stable.

One of the authors, Kaliya Franklin, said: “cutting spending on DLA will increase the burden on local authorities, the NHS and community services at the very time they seeking to find savings by reducing eligibility, particularly for social care support.”

There is no point in subjecting people with permanent disability to regular assessments and those whose conditions do improve would welcome reform – and indeed assessments – if they were simplified and considered robust, fair and transparent. But as Mr Tilbury and so many like him have found, the government’s work capability test, delivered by Atos, is none of those things.

PS: After the shooting incident in which Mr Tilbury was injured, Thames Valley police was fined £40,000 with £25,000 costs and the PC fired the weapon, David Micklethwaite, £8,000 and £8,000 costs, for breaching health and safety regulations.

Although Atos have now pulled out of administering the test, the same deep flaws remain. The test itself, as reported by many bloggers such as Johnny Void, and Mike over at Vox Political, is based on discredited pseudoscience, the biopsychosocial model of illness. Johnny Void has also blogged the other day about how the new contractors for the test, Maximus, will pursue exactly the same policies and recruit many of the same personnel. The only difference is that they’re better at PR, and are seeking to conceal their involvement behind a front company. And Unum are still pressing for further contracts and the dismantlement of the welfare state.

As for the discontinuation of the DLA and its replacement with PIP, many bloggers, including Mr Void and Mike have criticised this. Bloggers like Glynis Millward and the people at DPAC also posted on the findings of the Responsible Reform report.

The Work Capability Assessment is rubbish, and has been shown repeatedly to be rubbish. But as Johnny Void has reported, some Labour shadow ministers continue to think that the system only needs to be reformed.

It doesn’t. It needs to be scrapped completely, along with the parasitic and malign companies, Unum and Maximus, that formulated and administer it.